Understanding Perceptions Towards, and Usage of, Social Media in the Context of Relationship Building: A Generational Comparison

University essay from Lunds universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: Title: Understanding Perceptions and Usage of Social Media in the Context of Relationship Building: A Generational Comparison Date of the Seminar: 30 May 2012 Course:BUSN29. Master Thesis Authors:Lovisa Haglind and Caroline Jonsson Advisor: Jon Bertilsson Keywords: Generations, Social Media and Relationship Building Thesis purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine on what basis diverse generations’ perceptions towards, and usage-habits of social media can be understood. By exploring how three social media platforms are perceived and used by consumers, the aim is to distinguish commonalities and patterns within distinctive generations. Further, the objective is to understand what have influenced a certain generation’s perceptions and usage and what implications these characteristics have in the context of relationship building. By recognising similarities and differences between diverse generations’ social media characteristics, the aim is to distinguish whether it seems beneficial to use generational segmentation as an initial effort for creating consumer relationships. Methodology: Since the study aims to understand consumers’ perceptions towards, and usage of, social media a qualitative interpretive approach is taken. By using a comparative research design, similar and unique characteristics have been distinguished between generations. Theoreticalperspective: Commitment TrustTheory of Relationship Marketing, The Theory of Reasoned Action, Consumer-Company Identification Model and User Generated Content Empirical data: Qualitative semi-structured interviews conducted with consumers belonging to one of the studied generations Conclusion: The main findings of this study suggest that generations’ perceptions towards, and usage of, social media can be understood by considering: common social media characteristics within a generation, generational characteristics found in existing literature and other personal characteristics. The study also proposes that it does not seem efficient to use generational segmentation in social media. Unique features discovered for each generation are however suggested to benefit initial engagement with the generations separately in social media.

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